There are many man-made structures that may mean more or less to different people. After touring through most of Europe, the UK and Oceania, these are my top ten, inspirational structures. They are not all buildings, but each one demonstrates the ingenuity of man to design, construct, achieve a goal and overcome adversity in one way or another.
10. The Eiffel Tower/La tour Eiffel
An iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. It was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, who designed and built the tower. Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticised by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.98 million people ascended it in 2011. The tower received its 250 millionth visitor in 2010.
9. Neuschwanstein Castle/Schloss Neuschwanstein
Built on a rugged hill over the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds. The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, but after his death in 1886, the castle was willed to the Bavarian state and was opened to public. Since then more than 61 million people have visited the castle.
8. The London Gherkin
30 St Mary Axe (widely known informally as The Gherkin and previously as the Swiss Re Building) is a commercial skyscraper in London’s primary financial district, the City of London. It was completed in December 2003 and opened in April 2004. With 41 storeys, it is 180 metres (591 ft.) tall and stands on the former site of the Baltic Exchange, which was extensively damaged in 1992.
7. Centre Georges Pompidou
The Centre Georges Pompidou commonly referred to as Centre Pompidou or the Pompidou Centre in English is a complex building in the Beaubourg area of the 4th arrondissement of Paris, near Les Halles, rue Montorgueil and the Marais. It was designed in the style of high-tech architecture by the architectural team of Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, and Gianfranco Franchini.
6. Church of St. Clement of Ohrid – Skopje/Црква на Свети Климент Охридски – Скопје
The Church of Saint Clement of Ohrid or Соборна црква – Свети Климент Охридски, but is often called simply Soborna Crkva (Соборна црква) and located on Boulevard Saint Clement of Ohrid in Skopje, Macedonia is the largest Orthodox cathedral of the Macedonian Orthodox Church today. The construction of the Orthodox Cathedral church was designed by Slavko Brezovski, began in 1972 and was consecrated on 12 August 1990, on the 1150th anniversary of the birth of the church patron, St. Clement of Ohrid.
5. Basilica Sagrada Familia – Barcelona
The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família or the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in November 2010 Pope Benedict XVI consecrated and proclaimed it a minor basilica, as rather than a cathedral which must be the seat of a bishop.
Construction of the church commenced in 1882 and Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926 less than a quarter of the project was complete. Sagrada Família’s construction progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the midpoint in 2010 with some of the project’s greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026, the centenary of Gaudi’s death.
4. Tower bridge – London
Tower Bridge (built 1886–1894) is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London which crosses the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name, and has become the iconic symbol of London.
The bridge consists of two towers tied together at the upper level by means of two horizontal walkways, designed to withstand the horizontal forces exerted by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers. The vertical component of the forces in the suspended sections and the vertical reactions of the two walkways are carried by the two robust towers. The bascule pivots and operating machinery are housed in the base of each tower. The bridge’s present colour scheme dates from 1977, when it was painted red, white and blue for Queen Elizabeth II’s silver jubilee. Originally it was painted a mid greenish-blue colour.
3. Standedge Tunnel – Marsden to Diggle
The canal tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, is the highest, longest and oldest canal in the United Kingdom. The canal took 17 years to build and opened in 1811. It operated from that time until it closed in 1943. The canal tunnel was re-opened in May 2001 and is administered by the Canal & River Trust. It is 16,499 feet (5,029 m) long, 636 feet (194 m) underground at its deepest point, and 643 feet (196 m) above sea level. It is one of four tunnels through the Pennines, two being used for rail traffic and another to connect them. Only one tunnel is now used for rail. The tunnel was built without a tow path and boats had to be “legged” through the canal which could take up to 3 hours if a boat was loaded. It only wide enough for one-way traffic, therefore boats work alternately to obtain passage. From the 2009 season, boats have been allowed to travel through the tunnel under their own power, with a chaperone on the boat, followed by a service vehicle through the parallel disused railway tunnel.
2. Sydney Opera House, Australia
The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Located on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the facility is adjacent to the Sydney CBD and the Royal Botanic Gardens, between Sydney and Farm Coves.
Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the facility formally opened on 20 October 1973 after Utzon’s 1957 selection as winner of an international design competition. The NSW Government, led by Premier Joseph Cahill, authorised work to begin in 1958, with Utzon directing construction. The government’s decision to build Utzon’s design is often overshadowed by circumstances that followed, including cost and scheduling overruns as well as the architect’s ultimate resignation.
This is Australia’s most iconic building and is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia. More than seven million people visit the site each year, with 300,000 people participating annually in a guided tour of the facility. Identified as one of the 20th century’s most distinctive buildings and one of the most famous performing arts centres in the world.
1. The Royal Liver Building – Liverpool
The Royal Liver Building is a Grade I listed building located in Liverpool, England. It is sited at the Pier Head and along with the neighbouring Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building is one of Liverpool’s Three Graces, which line the city’s waterfront. It is also part of Liverpool’s UNESCO designated World Heritage Maritime Mercantile City.
Opened in 1911, the building is the purpose-built home of the Royal Liver Assurance group, which had been set up in the city in 1850 to provide locals with assistance related to losing a wage-earning relative. One of the first buildings in the world to be built using reinforced concrete, the Royal Liver Building stands at 90 m (300 feet) tall. It was the tallest storied building in Europe from completion until 1932 and the tallest in the United Kingdom until 1961. The Royal Liver Building is now however only the joint-fourth tallest structure in the City of Liverpool, having been overtaken in height by West Tower, Radio City Tower and Liverpool Cathedral.
Today the Royal Liver Building is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city of Liverpool and is home to two fabled Liver Birds that watch over the city and the sea. Legend has it that were these two birds to fly away, then Liverpool would cease to exist.
Another popular legend states that the Liver Birds are a male and female pair, the female looking out to sea, watching for seamen to return safely home, whilst the male looks towards the city making sure the pubs are open.
Source (in part and as edited): Wikipedia